There is something about Christmas time that brings you home even when you're away from home. We found the little tree a couple of weeks ago, the lights had been left here by the Childers, the couple we followed in CES. We found the small bulbs and the little stuffed figures last week on one of the shopping trips Mike enjoys so much. :) Our favorite is the little snowman on the left, the only one in the display of snowmen that had the Russian fur hat instead of just a beanie. There are also a lot of sheep items here - again, the cutest in the display we were looking at, on the right below - blue and a tucked back nose. -- add a dangling legged snowman in the middle - can't get much better than that. except ...
These are the stockings Debbra and Matthew sent with us to be sure we had Bunkerville in our Christmas.
And - with the season and the song .. the weather outside is frightful...(not really, but it is kind of chilly.) We decided to walk one morning last week even though the temperature was 9 degrees at about 9:00 a.m. .. it did warm up to 10 before we got back. It was lightly snowing, and was a pleasant and pretty walk, both of us with considerably more layers, especially me, this time than the similar picture taken a few weeks ago. They do have a good walking path in our area that runs between the lanes of traffic. They are lined with trees and benches to sit on
when it is warmer, also have flowers and grass then. The temperature daily low has been 9 or 10, daily high between 19-23. People here assure us that it doesn't get really cold until January when there is more snow and the wind blows. Guess we'll find out.
Thought you'd like to see this picture of our vegetables and fruit laid out to dry after being washed in cool soapy water, rinsed and then soaked in a very mild clorox solution and finally rinsed off in bottled water .. So many colors and flavors and uses -- makes you think of D&C 59:18-23 abbreviated - "Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart ... to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul .. and it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; "
Last entry for this week - below we are on the bus coming home from a baptism - it is for our Branch, but we don't have a font so have to go to Engels - across the Volga which we always like. I'm really not asleep. The Yorgasens, right behind me, are the MLS - Member Leadership Support - couple that have been here and helped us much in getting oriented. They are fun and amazing in their service to the members and the missionaries - and us. This is their second mission to Russia, another area the first time. But, they are being moved into the mission office in a couple of weeks because the couple there has extended as long as they can (does this sound familiar, Cec & Carol) and another couple hasn't been assigned. Although we were on the right bus number, for some reason it didn't take the turn it usually does so we had to get off and walk back to the right street and another bus. Another adventure - and neither of us dressed quite as warm as we were on our walk. (I need to take the pictures once in a while so Mike is in them, he always looks good.)
We remain impressed with the people, but particularly with the faithful members, many of whom face things in their lives we have never had to deal with. As we mentioned before, the church has been here 22 or 23 years. Some of our older leaders (but younger than we are) talk of when they first went to church and there were only 1 or 2 other families. Some of the youth have joined against their parents wishes - here at 16 you are considered an adult and don't have to have permission, although most of them ask for it anyway - and many are very strong with growing knowledge and testimonies. They hold together and strengthen each other. It is quite a tender and humbling experience, and testimony building for us, to sit in some of these discussions (we mentioned before that we are close to the Institute office, so the missionaries often bring their investigators to our apartment for the lessons) and listen and watch as the investigator or new member shares their insights as they become aware of the truthfulness of what they are learning. Not sure if we can even express the feelings. Miss you all but grateful to be here, we certainly are able to stay busy. love .. the Russia Waites